Let me share with you one note that I received this year. It was from Wade Frantz in Warsaw, Indiana (pictured below). He posted on my wall... "Happy birthday old man, lol, lol, love you preach. The LORD has been good even when we don't deserve it. Thanks for all your commitment. A lot of people are going to heaven because of it and I am one of them, Praise Jesus."
When I was Wade's pastor, he was in his twenties, an outgoing body builder, who was easy to like. He was a part of the young adults group that sat right down in front every Sunday. It was exciting preaching to those front rows of energized twenty-somethings.
He and his fiancee, Heather, both accepted Christ, and now, 20+ years later, are both serving God. When I received this message from Wade I sat and cried. Trophies of grace! And although the miles have kept us apart, we will get to spend eternity together.
I have lived long enough (yes, I hit the big 6-0 this week) to know that right decisions repeated over time compound. I am so glad that I accepted Christ as a teen, heard His call to preach and have earnestly tried to obey Him. I am grateful for the divine appointments with people like Wade that have resulted in changed lives. It just doesn't get better than this.
On a different note...
We have now completed our consultation of Hadley-Luzerne Wesleyan Church. Our team had a great weekend with Pastor Dick Osborne and his people. Following are the results of the consultation with the prescription to help them move to the next level. Also, if you were not able to attend the training event at HLWC on Sunday afternoon/evening, you can download the audio file of that, entitled A Great Commission Congregation. To find it, go to www.enynewesleyan.org, select 'District Transformation Project' from the Quick Links list (upper left), then select 'Borden.Great.Commission.Congreg.7.11'.
HADLEY-LUZERNE CONGREGATIONAL CONSULTATION
JULY 8 – 10, 2011
- A Loving and Caring Congregation: This congregation welcomes and accepts new people from a wide variety of backgrounds with love and grace. Many of the people we spoke with affirmed that they are a part of this congregation today because of the way they were treated their very first visit. The people in the congregation reflect honesty and genuineness in how they portray themselves while welcoming people without judgment and prejudice.
- Pastor: The pastor has led this congregation in spiritual and numerical growth. He is respected for his integrity. He is honored for his commitment to preach the Word of God with excellence.
- Missional Ministries: There are two congregational ministries that are intentionally reaching out to engage “lost people”. These two ministries are the children’s ministry and Celebrate Recovery. The children’s ministry is doing an excellent job during the year and in VBS of ministering to children both from homes where people attend church regularly and where they do not. The Celebrate Recovery ministry is reaching out to both believers and unbelievers who sense their personal needs and are seeking help from those who are pointing them to Jesus Christ. Both ministries are doing a good job of developing teams.
- Morale: The morale of the congregation is high. There is deep appreciation for God, his Word, the pastor and each other. People care for this church and are delighted with what God is doing in and through the congregation.
- Resources: God has blessed the congregation with an abundance of resources including: a growing number of those attending the worship service, new and well cared for facilities, six acres of land, little debt, an excellent pastor and pastor’s spouse, and a core of faithful servants.
- A Biblical Alignment between The Great Commission, Mission and the Vision: The congregation does not make all decisions based ultimately on the Great Commission. This is reflected in its current mission statement and lack of vision.
- A Pastor/Staff Led Congregation: The congregation is not pastor led/staff led.
- Maximizing Facilities: The current facilities are not being used for maximum ministry.
- Finances: The congregation is asset rich and cash poor which is negatively impacting its ability to conduct excellent ministries.
- Commitment to the Community: The ministries of the congregation are focused more on serving the body of believers than ministering to the community.
- A Biblical Alignment between the Great Commission, the Mission and the Vision. The pastor will call the congregation to a day of prayer. The purpose of this day will be to pray for several major items. First the congregation and its leaders will confess the sin of relying more on congregational growth through the transfer of believers than reaching “lost people”. The congregation will also pray that God will break their hearts collectively and individually for lost people and become more intentional about making more disciples. This day of prayer will take place in a Sunday morning worship service by October 2, 2011. The congregation will adopt as their new mission statement that HLWC exists to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ. This mission statement will be in place by October 2, 2011. The pastor along with his coach will adopt a vision statement that will be presented to the congregation by October 30, 2011. Once these are in place the pastor and staff will conduct a mission/ministry audit of every ministry in the congregation to see how it is helping the congregation fulfill the mission and achieve the vision. Those that are not will be changed or cancelled. This audit will be completed by July 31, 2012.
- A Pastor and Staff Led Congregation: The congregation in consultation with the District Superintendent will move to a model of governance where the board governs, the pastor leads, the staff manages and the people do the ministry. This will occur by October 2, 2011. The pastor will have a staff in place to cover the ministries that intentionally help the congregation grow. This staff (including full-time, part-time and volunteer staff members) will be in place by January 1, 2012. The pastor will hold these staff members accountable for measurable goals in the areas of evangelism, leadership development and growth. These goals will be established by January 1, 2012. The pastor will have bi-weekly staff meetings with the staff members that are in place by October 3, 2011. The three staff areas that need immediate attention are worship, children and assimilation.
- Maximizing Facilities: The pastor will lead the congregation to make needed changes in the facilities in order to make them more user friendly for children. These changes will be done by December 31, 2011, assuming that financing is available. By that date the pastor will also lead the congregation to increase the number of parking places. The worship center will also be made more user friendly for any ministry the pastor and staff deem worthy once the report is adopted.
- Finances: The pastor will lead the LBA and congregation to raise funds and/or refinance the congregation’s debt on the facilities in order to raise up to $75,000. Once the money is in place the pastor will oversee the expenditure of dollars for the following: paying needed part-time people to staff ministries, making changes to the building and parking, coaching for the pastor and field trips for the pastor and key staff members to learn from other congregations. Dates for these responsibilities will be set with the coach and the DS once the funding becomes available.
- Commitment to the Community: In addition to the pastor’s responsibilities of leading the staff he will provide leadership for the congregation in order to help it engage the community. The strategy of doing good deeds to create good will in order to produce good disciples will be led by the pastor. The pastor does this by engaging leaders in the community and developing congregational teams to implement such a strategy. This new aspect to the pastor’s job description will be developed in conjunction with his coach and the DS and be in place by January 1, 2012. The pastor will also lead the congregation to conduct four to six major bridge events a year that are designed to help new people connect with the congregation and to lead the congregation to minister collectively in the community. The first of these two big events will occur between October 2 and December 31, 2011.
THE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT WILL LEAD THE CONGREGATION TO VOTE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THIS REPORT. ALL REGULAR ATTENDERS MAY VOTE. IF ACCEPTED THE DISTRICT WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE PASTOR AND CONGREGATION TO HELP PROVIDE RESOURCES (WHERE POSSIBLE) FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REPORT. IF THE CONGREGATION REJECTS THIS REPORT THEN THE CONSULTATION PROCESS IS OVER AND THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE THE CONGREGATION TO BE INVOLVED IN ANY ENDEAVORS DISCUSSED IN THE REPORT. THIS VOTE WILL OCCUR ON AUGUST 7, 2011.
Respectfully submitted by:
Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. Paul James
Rev. Stan Hoover
Rev. Chris Williams
Dr. Tim Roehl